How would you like to pay your employees to do nothing? Paying people for nothing is not likely in your business plan. But without sufficient preparation, that’s exactly what many companies do when faced with a disaster or an outage. Systems go down for hours, days, or even weeks, and operations get shut down.
The consequences of critical systems going down for extended periods are self-explanatory. To protect your company, it’s important to prepare for disasters before they disrupt operations. The first step in tackling this daunting task is understanding the fundamentals of backup and disaster recovery.
Learn the Differences Between Backups and Disaster Recovery
Owning a parachute doesn’t mean you can use it in an emergency. The same holds true for using your backups. While it’s essential to make regular backups, you may not have a plan for how to use them during a natural disaster or outage. This example brings us to the first point: What’s the difference between making backups and disaster recovery?
- A backup is a copy of your data. Backups can be stored on-premise, in the cloud, or a combination of the two. Additionally, they can be performed continuously or intermittently.
- Disaster recovery refers to the plans and processes you’ll use to recover your data and applications (using your backups) after an outage. These plans will vary depending on the type of outage, which can range from a simple server glitch to a natural disaster.
For your plans to be successful, you need both a backup strategy that considers your company’s needs and a disaster recovery plan that helps you effectively use your backup data.
When you experience an outage, speed is critical. The longer employees sit idle, and applications are unavailable to your clients and team, the more damage it will do to your business. Planning is essential if you want to get your hardware applications running quickly. Below are five steps to help you cover the critical areas of backup and disaster recovery:
- Prioritize your business's most vulnerable applications and data. While you’d like to get everything restored after an outage immediately, some applications will impact your business more than others. For example, a financial institution’s customer portal is more important than the software the development team uses to design new features. So start by evaluating which data and applications impact immediate operations the most.
- Calculate how long you can be without your applications. Gauging available recovery time is crucial to choosing the methods you’ll employ for disaster recovery. You’ll have different processes for applications that need to be restored immediately compared with those that can wait a few days. This knowledge will help you establish your recovery time objective (RTO), which is the time it takes to recover normal business operations.
- Determine how much data you can stand to lose. It may seem counterintuitive to plan on losing data, but it’s essential for determining your backup frequency. If losing even a small amount of data is unacceptable, then your team may opt for continuous backups.
- Choose where you’ll back up your data. Once you know your backup frequency and restoration needs, you should also consider your data privacy requirements. These three factors will help you determine backup location. For example, if speed is of the essence, you may choose a hybrid cloud model where data is stored both on-premises for speed and in the cloud for better distribution. Either way, a good rule of thumb is to store backup data in separate locations in case the disaster impacts your physical location.
- Document your restoration strategy. If you’re working with a disaster recovery plan that’s managed for you, your provider will handle failover during an outage. In a more hands-on approach, you’ll need to determine when and how your backup servers will activate during an outage as well as how you’ll handle power failures and the other effects of a natural disaster. Everything should be documented, easy to access, and in a format conducive to training.
A lot more detail and planning will go into your backup and disaster recovery plans, but these are some great steps to help you start the conversation. If you get stuck, don’t feel that you have to navigate the process alone.
Work With a Partner to Manage Backup and Disaster Recovery
A backup and disaster recovery plan is essential to a speedy response that mitigates the damage of an outage. However, navigating cloud backup and recovery options can be daunting. OneNeck’s team is experienced in both and can help you traverse the topic successfully.
Our managed backup services are hands-on and ensure that your backups are monitored continuously and always ready when you need them. We also tailor our disaster recovery solutions to your unique needs to ensure your applications are prioritized correctly. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our managed backup and disaster recovery solutions.